Story goes like this:
In 1991, trial lawyer and motrocycle enthusiast H. Matthew Chambers started a bespoke motorcycle company dedicated to, as he called it, “enlightened design through true American inspiration.” That company was dubbed Confederate, and for the next 25 years, it carved out a niche in the American motoring game by crafting singularly beautiful motorcycles in extremely limited runs, each one selling for well north of $100k.
Fast forward to 2017, and Confederate — for very obvious and justified reasons — was increasingly feeling pressure from customers and partners over its controversial name. So they changed it, to Curtiss, this time alluding to the feats of legendary biker and aviator Glenn.
But that wasn't the only massive change on the company's horizon.
Campbell also announced that after the release of 35 V-Twin Warhawks, his company would be abandoning gas-powered bikes altogether to join the ranks of the electric, with California's Zero Motorcycles coming on board as a manufacturing partner. And now, finally, we have a glimpse at what the next generation of Curtiss Motorcycles will look like.
Behold, the first prototype of the all-electric Zeus, unveiled last week at Carmel, California's Quail Motorcycle Gathering:
Curtiss Zeus Motorcyle (2 images)
Given it's just a prototype, Campbell and co. are remaining tight-lipped on specs and pricing for now. What we do know: per New Atlas, the chassis is aluminum, the battery is a 4.4 kWh Li-ion and the V-Twin engines have been replaced with an industry-first "E-Twin" power unit, aka twin electric motors that feed into one output shaft.
Unlike most existing electric designs, the Zeus has also forgone the faux fuel tank since, uh, it's completely non-functional and unnecessary. Meanwhile, the electric components — which skew heavy — have been intelligently distributed throughout the frame to maximize ergonomics, and there's a display screen above the handlebars that will relay road information and driving stats.
In other words, the Zeus is a distinctly forward-thinking bike that will fully embrace its transition to electric, rather than clinging on to vestigial design elements to keep up appearances.
And yet, it is also distinctly a Confederate, er, Curtiss: burly, badass and unlike any other bike you will see on the road.